InterAmericana Hwy. Shutdown in David due to Protests…


Received from a Chiriquí Chatter reader.

Protesters from the Suntracs Labor Union have effectively shut down traffic from entering and leaving David on the InterAmericana Hwy. around Noon today. Traffic was backed over several kilometers on each side of the InterAmericana as Protesters were centered around the Chiriqui Mall area of the Autopista. Police told motorists that they were not intending to intervene to clear the roadway and would let the protesters carry on. The Protesters were lighting tire fires in the middle of the InterAmericana roadway.

The timing of the Protests seemed designed to inconvenience as many people as possible with the Noon time commencement of the Protests. Those traveling to David this morning on business will be unable to get back in a timely manner this afternoon to their homes, while those going to David this afternoon will not be able to get in.

The Suntracs Union Protesters are in collusion with the Ngobe Bugle Indians and other indigenous peoples over the Mineral Rights debate over their lands.  The offer from the National Government for payment for mining rights  appears most unsatisfactory to the Indigneous peoples and now, Suntracs.

Suntracs is perhaps, the most powerful labor union in Panama, and represents many of the country’s construction workers. There appears to be enough anarchists and nihilists on both sides of the political spectrum in the Union that they wish to show solidarity with the minority Indians in their dealing with the National Government in shutting down main traffic routes and basic transportation services.

This is only an initial report based on my experiences trying to access David just earlier. I am sure that as more information develops, that we can determine just how long the protest may last, and if there will be a continuance tomorrow or the next few days.

Joe Spickard

15 thoughts on “InterAmericana Hwy. Shutdown in David due to Protests…

  1. I like this line:

    The timing of the Protests seemed designed to inconvenience as many people as possible w

    Wouldn’t make a lot of sense to hold a protest at 2:00 am.

    Also, is it possible to have nihilists and anarchists on both sides of a political spectrum?

  2. Martinelli’s changes to the mining code are a direct challenge to the Ngobi-Bugle people who have suffered constantly throughout the history of Panama, I for one sympathize with the outrage they are feeling as an illegally passed law threatens thier way of life. Some estimates say that upwards of 150,000 Ngobe-Bugle would be affected either by having to leave the land, or having the land contaminated by the worlds largest copper mine. This land is all located on the NGobe-Bugle Conmarca and is legally their own, This copper mine would also affect all of us here in Panama, as the natural beauty of the area proposed would become a wasteland, polluting the air and water and destroying the land through open pit mining. Yes folks were inconvenienced, but from my point of view the cause is a good one and the charge of ‘nihilists and anarchists’ incorrect, however well intentioned.

  3. Just imagine….anarchists and nihilists…supporting people who want to prevent the wholesale looting and plundering of their land … those BASTARDS!!! Doesn’t anyone support respect the oligarchy anymore?

  4. Richard: they’re doing the exact thing in Wisconsin. But have no fear, the oligarchy is getting plenty of support.

  5. You’re right, Tom. The deliberate and systematic dismantlement of the middle class initiated by Saint Ronald Ray Gun continues. Reading news from the north makes me feel as if I escaped from the asylum in the nick of time.

  6. The estimate of “150,000 Ngobe-Bugle would be affected” might be a little off as this preliminary census number shows 154,344 inhabitants in the comarca.
    Not sure if you can call it ” looting and plundering” when they would receive a percentage of the royalty’s and the copper mined will be returned as shiny household goods that we all covert. Anyway it’s good to have something to complain about.

  7. I luv it! The people rising up and reminding the guv who the boss really is……..Im with the indigenous folks all the way on this one……I sent Don Winner, (who I normally agree with) who is very pro-mining (cuz of the “big bucks” it will bring) an email asking him to show me one strip mine that has been developed which hasnt turned out to be an eco disaster…….and of course, as usual, no answer………could that be cuz there isnt one?

  8. The Ngobe-Bugle have been lied to and robbed for a long long time, and do not believe a word that Martinelli has to say, furthermore to gain a small royalty and to lose your land is not a good trade. It is not always about money for everyone.

  9. Is Panama changing into the lack of guidance by the Administration and what is best for the people that have “been Panama”? I understand the Gov’t wants to make $$ but, they have to do all in accordance with everyone. In my opinion, what is happening in the US with all the Democrats not attending the meetings — the protesters should protest their “protection” — not having the Dems leave their jobs. They should all be fired and Obama should intervene at some level.

  10. John, believe it or not, not everyone in the world covets “shiny household goods.” Thank God there are some people who don’t equate a quality life with how much they can acquire.

    In my opinion the growing problems in the U.S. don’t come from creeping “socialism” or “runaway entitlement programs” but the relentless pursuit of laissez-faire capitalism through the wholesale exportation of American manufacturing jobs to third-world countries in pursuit of the holy grail of the “bottom line” and the redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the already wealthy.

    As I said, I feel like I have escaped from the Asylum.

  11. Martinelli is becoming a nightmare, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. The best part of Panama is it’s native people, and the areas in which they live. Have we not raped the land and it’s indigenous people enough, stop the plunder. The value of tourism is far less damaging than mining, and the royalties the Indios get will be pennies on the dollar and that’s a fact, Jack. We have lived here (Pedasi) for 2 1/2 yrs, and do not understand the rape and pillaging that go on here, it’s outrageous, start more recycling and less plastic, and NO MINING.

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